When designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari announced his bridal line, it raised a quite a few eyebrows. Besides being a new territory for him, bridal designs were not something Nari’s design aesthetics were associated with. He is more known for lending luxury stitches to boring work wear clothes and stylised and structured women’s and men’s wear. But all that changed when the master designer attended an after-after party at 6 am at a friend’s house. He heard a lady play the piano with such intensity that it shook him up and he knew right then that he was ready to create a bridal line. True story! Read on…
Tell us, was a bridal line always on the agenda?
Nari: It was on the cards for a while but I felt that I couldn’t find the right idea to translate into a line. I was clear that if I get into the bridal segment, the product has to be different from what already exists in the Indian market. There are 10,000 designers already doing it, and I didn’t want to be just another one to join the bandwagon.
So, what changed?
Nari: The lady playing the piano at an after party. I’ve never heard the piano being played with such intensity. Honestly, it was not the sound or the music that moved me but the intensity that stirred something in me to kick off a bridal line. It really got me going. She was playing Rachmaninoff – different, dark music. Rachmaninoff was a romanticist but it was his version of dark romance that lured me to do a bridal collection.
Dark romance for the Indian bride…
Nari: That’s the thing. If you say dark romance, no one will buy the outfits in India. So we looked at the musicians life and the time period that he lived in. We took elements from his era. That’s how we mixed the idea of Swan Lake and Rachmaninoff and came up with outfits for the new age Indian bride.
What do you mean by ‘new age’ Indian bride?
Nari: Yep. The new age Indian bride doesn’t want to stand pretty in a ghaghra that weighs 100 kilos while the guests dance and have the time of their life. She wants to be able to participate in the celebrations. It is that mindset that the collection will appeal to. The new age bride is also a woman who is an avid traveller, been to destination weddings herself and has seen the world, but still wants to connect with her roots on her big day.
Tell us more about your inspirations behind the line. What makes it so special?
Nari: The line blends classic West and modern India. It is for a woman who is strong yet fragile in many ways. I’ve drawn inspiration from ballerinas in Swan Lake who look so fragile but if you notice closely they have to be very strong to portray that very fragility. I’ve been watching a lot of films based on ballerinas in the fast few months and their movements require a great deal of strength, both mental and physical. Yet their actions on stage make us feel like they are more delicate than a butterfly. It is this paradox that is the collection.
Describe the collection. What has the response been like?
Nari: I’ve used a lot of organza to portray the fragility of the garment and the structure signifies the inherent strength of the ballerinas. Women love it for two reasons. The first is that they can truly look different on their wedding day and second, they can actually reuse some elements of the ensemble. For instance, one lady picked up a sari with a jacket and said that she will definitely team the jacket with plain black pants or denims after her wedding day. She was already deconstructing the ensemble to see how she can make use of it later. I think all this signifies the dawn of the new age bride, just like the tone of new age fashion came into being about five years back, with young designers like Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra taking centrestage. These guys clicked because the market was tired of seeing the same 20 designers doing the same thing since decades. It’s the same situation on the bridal front too. People want respite from decade old trends.
What is the biggest compliment the bridal line fetched you?
Nari: When someone came up to me and said that for her, that all the designers’ are on one side and my creations on the other. Don’t ask me which designers she was talking about though 😉